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Bears’ first-team defense continues outstanding preseason vs. Titans

Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota struggled against the Bears on Sunday. (AP)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — One touchdown. That’s all the Bears’ first-team defense has surrendered in three preseason games.

And that score came shortly after Mike Glennon was intercepted by the Cardinals in the second exhibition game. So it was wise of him to make sure his defense received some good press.

“Another thing to point out is how well our defense has been playing,” Glennon said while answering a question about himself after the Bears’ 19-7 victory Sunday against the Titans at Nissan Stadium.

“Our No. 1 defense has only given up one touchdown the entire preseason. So that’s pretty good.”

Its dominance against Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota was an appropriate way for the first-team defense to end its preseason.

Mariota’s stats — 12-for-21, 193 yards, a touchdown and a 103.9 passer rating — are misleading because the majority of the starters didn’t play in the second half.

Against the Bears’ regulars, Mariota was 7-for-13 for 106 yards and an 80.9 passer rating in the first half. And most of Mariota’s yardage came on one throw — a 48-yard completion to wide receiver Taywan Taylor down the seam on third-and-31.

It was a big gain aided by missed tackles by safeties Eddie Jackson and Quintin Demps, but it didn’t lead to any points. The defense held the Titans to a 40-yard field-goal attempt, which Ryan Succop missed.

The Bears also held running backs DeMarco Murray (six carries, 16 yards) and Derrick Henry (nine carries, 24 yards) in check.

Defensive lineman Eddie Goldman tackled Henry for a six-yard loss in the second quarter, leaving him with minus-three yards on three carries in the first half.

“I was pleased with [the defense] all week, all preseason,” coach John Fox said. “I thought today was probably our best outing against what I consider a very talented Tennessee offense.”

Members of the defense don’t want to get carried away with their success. It is the preseason. But they do sense something good is brewing.

It starts with the front seven. Akiem Hicks and Willie Young each sacked Mariota.

“Our guys are taking ownership of their positions,” Young said. “[It’s] gap control — controlled violence. Everything is kind of coming together. But [it’s] the preseason. So time will tell.”

But the defense will take it.

“It’s all about confidence,” Demps said. “It’s all about believing in your defense, believing that you can win, believing that you can create turnovers. That’s what preseason is for, to build that up going into the season.”

Follow me on Twitter @adamjahns.

Email: ajahns@suntimes.com

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